Save Tacoma Water for our future generations.
Ten years ago I moved to Tacoma against my will. To my mind it was a foul smelling, heavy industry, toxic blight on this coast. Since that time I have come to love the new flourishing Tacoma. I love its livable size, sense of community, diversity, robust arts scene, fine museums, historical flavor, great events, Commencement Bay and the Rainiers.
When I learned of the nightmare of the proposed methanol refinery looming over this city, I felt angry, scared, and powerless. I was alarmed that in addition to threatening serious toxins, explosion and fire, it projected using (without any citizen input) fourteen million gallons per day of our fresh water.
In response, the Save Tacoma Water organization has developed Amendment 5 and Initiative 6 which, with enough petition signatures, will appear on the November ballot. We Tacoma citizens will then have the opportunity to vote ourselves into a position of power concerning use of our diminishing water supply, as well as the type of industry entering the city.
I’m grateful to the originators of this movement and to each voter who signs the petitions. It’s a true pleasure to volunteer in support of Save Tacoma Water.
Save Tacoma Water volunteer Judt, always with a smile and full of information for those who have questions.
Sally loves lines of people – as voters readily sign both Water Protection Petitions – Initiative 6 and Charter Amendment 5 – Yes! to Protect.
Why I choose to volunteer for the Save Tacoma Water can be summed up in three words, past, present and future.
Past: My mother’s parents and sisters emigrated from Pisa, Italy to Tacoma. They did not know how to speak, read or write English when they arrived. My mother was the first person born on American soil in her family. She spoke, read and wrote Italian as her first language and acted as translator for her parents her entire life. I feel immense gratitude for all of the immigrates that eventually found their way to Tacoma in order to build a city out of dirt and mud. These hardworking individuals that crossed oceans and continents suffered difficulties that we cannot envisage today. I know these stories personally. It is my responsibility to honor their sacrifice and hardships by continuing to enhance our standard of living.
Present: I am volunteering for the present generation that seems to be more addicted to social media than concerned for their resources. The majority of them appear to be brainwashed by the media. When I ask the generations of X,Y and millennials to sign the petitions, they often say “not now” as they are running into the store to shop and spend money, and I think to myself “if not now, when?”
Future: I volunteer for the security of the next generation that will be forced to live in an environment that has an unforeseeable future and standard of living. It is the least that I can do to lend them a helping hand that will secure that they can live and prosper in the city that we will be leaving behind.
Sally Radford working the line outside the democratic caucus meeting recently.
Collecting signatures on the Water Protection Petitions. Sally has mastered working multiple boards – note that she has four people signing all at once. Go Sally!
Shout out to our volunteers! We have new petition sheets with a new look. Why? Well, we needed to print more. Plus, it will help us in our signature collecting efforts for the next month and they will prepare voters for a yes vote in November.
Volunteers will no longer have to respond to the question, “We stopped the methanol refinery, why do we need these petitions?”
The citizens of Tacoma and all the rest of the loud voices from around the region can all take a bow for getting Northwest Innovation Works to cancel the project, but remember this quote from the Tacoma News Tribune:
“Right now, we no longer have a project in Tacoma,” Godley said by phone.
Save Tacoma Water views the methanol refinery as a wake up call and we take heed from the ominous quote. The words “right now” are the very reason the Water Protection Petitions need to get on the ballot so voters can decide the next time another super huge fresh water user comes knocking at our port. The politicians failed us this time, we won’t let that happen again as we have faith in the public process brought forth by a vote by the people.
By STW volunteer, Debby Herbert
As a California native and transplant to Tacoma, I have additional perspective on why our water protection petitions are so important, and is why I am working with this petition campaign, and feel so dedicated to this cause. California is almost always in some state of water conservation and/or drought status, so I have lived in a water scarce environment for a good part of my life. Voluntary and mandatory water cutbacks, I assure you, is not a place we ever want to be and is a primary reason I moved away from California and came to the Northwest. On my four day exploratory trip to the area it rained non-stop for four days, and I said to myself on my return trip home, “I’ll take it…there is water!”
What I remember the most in my four decades in drought-stricken California, and found so untenable, is the constant stress and guilt associated with using water for everyday activities that we all consider to be normal. Before 2014, water rationing was done at the city and district level. But in 2014 the State of California went beyond the voluntary water reduction of 20%, and began enforcement of 25% mandatory water cutbacks in every city in the state. Forget about a green lawn and that lush garden, or having a clean car. The constant denying myself of water, down to the cup…restaurants only served you water if you asked for it. Brown lawns were the norm, no gardens, reduced use of washer/dryer, dishwasher, car washing, washing the dog, that long relaxing shower, the list is long.
Our fresh water is a finite natural resource that we have to protect, as it will continue to be a target by mega-mega water users. We have seen with the methanol refinery, how quickly a handful of elected officials will “sell” a major portion of our water out to the highest bidder, with no regard for how that will impact the citizens. And, at the same time, asking us to reduce water usage by 10%. We can’t let that happen again. It is our water and we are in an age of droughts. The decision to allow any mega-mega water users must be in our hands, the citizens. Please support the water petitions!
Dan Decker is one of Save Tacoma Water’s super volunteers and turned in a huge stack of petitions a few minutes ago – 31 full pages (640 signatures) of blue petitions and 24 full pages (480 signatures) of green petitions. Wow, this is a superfabulous effort. A huge thanks goes out to Dan!
Dan is a dedicated volunteer petitioning daily, going door to door. Tacoma residents are readily signing the petition. Volunteers report that the signers prefer the “blue” petition because they understand that the charter amendment cannot be overturned by the politicians. The clock is ticking, if you haven’t joined with all of us Citizen Lawmakers, now is the time to get out and collect signatures – our deadline, June 15th is quickly approaching.
Check out our ad in this week’s edition of the Tacoma Weekly (available Thursdays) – the paper in town to read if you want to be informed, especially when it came to reporting about the methanol refinery. Support this newspaper as the publisher is one of the visionary people endorsing our Water Protection Petitions.
The Cascade Mountain range as seen from the parking lot of Mt. Rainier showing the lack of snow pack last year. Photo by Ron Morrison
Never forget how bad the drought was last year. It can happen again. Save Tacoma Water volunteer Ron Morrison uses this pitch while out collecting signatures, “Do you drink Tacoma Water?”
That pitch is a great way to get attention about our fresh water and how precious it is. It helps catch the attention of folks walking by and once they learn about the petitions, people readily sign the Water Protection Petitions.
We have just 8 weeks until our deadline – so now is the time to help us make history. Never before has a citizen group attempted to collect signatures on both an ordinance and a charter amendment at the same time. Why do both? We are asked that question frequently and the answer is because the ordinance gets us on the ballot this year and the charter amendment ensures that five votes on the council does not over turn the will of the people. Onward to the ballot!
Save Tacoma Water carefully researched these water protection petitions, waiting months for some of our public records requests to be fulfilled. We found that only one fresh water user uses an incredible amount of fresh water each day – WestRock, or more commonly known as Simpson Kraft Paper Mill. That company uses a staggering 15.52 million gallons of fresh water daily. That paper mill has been a part of Tacoma’s history since 1928 when the plant was first built, it is still in operation today and is grandfathered in under a provision in the water protection petitions we are currently collecting signatures on.
No other industry comes close to using that amount of fresh water daily, in fact, of the other 9 top fresh water users, not one of them uses enough water to trigger a public vote – that is how reasonable the water protection petitions are.
The scare put into us by the sponsors of the largest methanol plant in the world was a wake up call to Tacomans. Save Tacoma Water filed the water protection petitions to prevent super huge water users from sneaking into our community like Northwest Innovation Works tried to do. The water protection petitions are our insurance that this won’t happen again in the future. Requiring a public vote by the people to approve an industry that wants to use more than a million gallons of fresh water daily is necessary to ensure a full discussion ensues when the next super huge fresh water user comes to town.
Turn in your signatures whenever you have a full page so we hit our weekly goals on both petitions. Offer the blue sheets first as we need more of those.
Ron Morrison has great success stopping potential signers by saying, “Do you drink Tacoma water?”, then he quickly asks if they are registered to vote in Tacoma.
Volunteers are needed to cover Wal-Mart (off Union) every day from 6:00 -8:00 PM for the next several weeks. Soon, the out-of-town paid petitioners will arrive and Wal-Mart will not be available as the pros will staff this location round the clock. So, now is the time to go to Wal-Mart where you can collect 15-20 signatures an hour. Petition with a partner. There are two doors, one is busier than the other. If you work it alone, set up a table at the slow door with our great signs – people will sign the petition sheet without even having to ask them to because everyone wants to protect our water.
Happy petitioning! See you soon.